The Arizona exemptions provide that on the date of filing only $150 per debtor (therefore $300 for a married couple filing jointly) are exempt.  This applies even if cash held is to be used for an exempt purpose in the future.  (This is so because no one would ever be able to check what you will use the money for next month).  It does not matter how much money a debtor has the day before filing (as long as all the money is spent on exempt items by the time the petition is filed). It also does not matter how much money passes through your account after you have filed.

 The one exception to monies received after filing is income earned prior to filing, but not actually received by you until after filing. This income is only partially non-exempt and the Trustee can take up to 25% of this ‘earned but not yet paid’ income. For example, if a person gets paid every Saturday through direct deposit and files on Friday, then only 75% of the following Saturday’s pay is exempt; the rest can be taken by the Trustee.

 If you have non-exempt money in your bank account on the day of filing, the worst case scenario is that the Trustee will request that you pay it to her.  As long as you are aware of that possibility, you can deal with it accordingly.  The biggest problem debtors typically run into is that they have non-exempt money on the day of filing, but then spend it, and when the Trustee asks for it, they no longer have it, and have to come up with payments to make to the Trustee.

 I understand that this may be seem like a lot of extra stress that you do not need right now. However, the bankruptcy code has very strict rules about what kind of assets a debtor is allowed to keep during a bankruptcy.  This is done to ensure the creditors get their fair share under the laws.  Essentially, the law states that a debtor should not be allowed to sit on a sum of cash, while his or her creditors get nothing.

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